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The path to mastery is boring

When I played football for the first time, it was exhilarating. I loved running around, passing the ball, dribbling and trying to score goals. I was terrible at playing then. I couldn't kick the ball such that it went up into the air. Every time I kicked the ball, it would only roll along the ground. My dribbling was no good. I would try to run past someone with the ball, only to lose it. My passes wouldn't reach the person I intended it for and my shots wouldn't be on target.

Nonetheless, that first time was a lot of fun.

The next few weeks were quite exciting as well. Each day I was out on the ground, I could see that I was getting better. I could pass more accurately, I could shoot more accurately, I could shoot with greater power, I could control the ball better, and my feet began to feel more dexterous. Every day I played, there was visible progress in the quality of my game.

Until I plateaued.

After that, the excitement levels weren't always high. Sure, when I played games that were closely fought or when I played in tournaments, there was certainly excitement. But the practice I had to go through every day in order to continue to get better and be good enough to play in those tournaments weren't all that exciting.

Writing my first story was exciting. But writing five hundred to a thousand words towards a novel everyday wasn't always exciting.

Writing my first few blog posts was exciting. But writing every day isn't the most exciting of tasks. Sometimes, it even feels like a chore. And there are definitely occasions when it becomes downright boring.

With anything we do, there is excitement when there is visible progress, when we see ourselves level up. But, leveling up is easy and quick in the early days. When starting off with something, we quickly level up through the initial levels until we get to our base level of proficiency in that task. And we thoroughly enjoy doing the task during this time and are excited to see ourselves quickly level up.

As we begin to plateau, however, it gets progressively harder to level up. It takes weeks and months of consistent effort to see some form of visible progress. And during this period, we have to persist through the boredom, or at least through the lack of excitement.

But if our goal is mastery, or even proficiency, then there is no other option but to persist through the boredom. Because if we are leveling up at a quick rate, we are less than novices that will soon come up against harder challenges.

Those who consistently seek excitement won't get far and won't get very good at anything. However, those who embrace the boredom and consistently put in the effort to get incrementally better each day, are boarding the train to mastery.

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